About four years ago I built a diesel motorbike, the most successful of three I have made. I would like to share the experience of how, using minimal tooling and tight finances, I successfully adapted a road registered motorcycle to be powered by a diesel engine and the problems I encountered to complete it.

The drive to do such an unusual thing was partly the engineering challenge but mostly the amazing fuel economy and I now get about 140mpg from it. The spark that started this bike was from an engine given to me at my 40th birthday camping weekend. You’d think it was a thoughtful and expensive gift but my friends actually found it on top of a rubbish dump attached to an abandoned refrigeration unit. However it was of good stock and worth mending and eventually made its way into a bike that covered over 40000 miles before needing attention.

Another interesting fact is that I built it in about a week due to a personal crisis. It was built mostly in the spare room of my house using parts I had I the attic left over from other projects and support from a generous friend with a big lathe.

I have attend the annual diesel bike meeting regularly since it started eleven years ago as well as occasionally visiting the one in Germany so can chat about the broader community of diesel bike builders.

Russell Couper

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